WASHINGTON — Johnny Cueto had another one-run outing, and Brandon Phillips knocked in a pair of runs with a double Tuesday night as the Cincinnati Reds opened a six-game road trip with a 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals.
Cueto (6-3) allowed four hits over seven innings, the only noteworthy damage coming on a solo home run by Elijah Dukes in the fourth. The right-hander's ERA dropped to 2.33 after the sixth start this season in which he allowed one or no runs.
Arthur Rhodes allowed a solo shot by Cristian Guzman in the eighth, and David Weathers and Francisco Cordero finished off the victory for the Reds in a game that began after a rain delay of 1 hour, 47 minutes. Cordero pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 15th save in as many chances.
The Nationals lost for the 11th time in 13 games, but the game — played before yet another small crowd — was an afterthought on a big day for the home club.
About 2½ hours before the first pitch, Washington used the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to select college pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg, who is billed as the type of franchise player that can help turn around the worst team in the majors.
Ross Detwiler, another recent high draft pick, allowed three runs over six innings to take the loss. Detwiler (0-3), the No. 6 overall selection in 2007, has yet to pitch more than six innings in five major league starts.
Detwiler walked three batters, and the Reds made the most of each one. Jay Bruce was given a two-out pass in the second inning and scored on Ryan Hanigan's single. Detwiler then walked Cueto on four pitches in the fifth and put Jerry Hairston on base two batters later, keeping the inning alive for Phillips' double down the right-field line. Cueto and Alex Gonzalez, who had opened the inning by legging out a double to left center, scored on the hit to break a 1-all tie.
The Nationals, meanwhile, had trouble getting a feel for home plate umpire Andy Fletcher's strike zone. Seven of their nine strikeouts came on a called strike three, and the Nos. 3 and 4 hitters — Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn — each had an at-bat in which they started down the line to first assuming they'd drawn a walk on a full-count pitch — only to have Fletcher crank his arm to signal the ball had grazed the outside corner.
The final out came in a similar way. Pinch-hitter Austin Kearns thought he had drawn a low pitch for ball four, but Fletcher called him out to end the game.
The Reds broke a six-game road losing streak to the Nationals. ... Jordan Zimmermann had been scheduled to start for Washington, but he felt fatigue after throwing a side session on Saturday. His turn was skipped, and he'll rejoin the rotation on Saturday. ... Reds Manager Dusty Baker said 3B Edwin Encarnacion is "about the same" after an MRI on Monday and will need more treatment before going out on a rehab assignment. Encarnacion broke his wrist on April 27.